February 1, 2008 Ergonomists created a chair that allows users to adjust the lumbar supports asymmetrically, addressing what they found in research. Over 70 percent of those tested wanted asymmetrical support in the lower back. The new chair uses handles to adjust the right and left sides of the lumbar area.
Back pain sufferers may finally get some relief, especially during long work days.
Now, there's a new office chair that compliments your desk and your body.
For many people, another day at the office means hours of sitting, sitting and more sitting. And all that sit-down time can take a toll on a body, and one of the biggest causes of pain … your chair!
"One of the biggest common things when people are sitting is experiencing low back pain," ergonomist Teresa Bellingar, Ph.D., told Ivanhoe.
Now, ergonomists have a new chair, called Zody -- it's a high-tech place to sit with a unique feature -- handles adjust on the chair on either the right or left sides of the lumbar area, or low back area, for a customized fit. "So one of the things when you're looking at incorporating adjusments in a chair is trying to find the appropriate lumbar support … so that people don't experience as much low back pain when they're sitting," Dr. Bellingar said.
To design the chair, researchers study how volunteers sit while doing a task. Then while adjusting supports on the low back, pressure points are mapped out to show individual needs of back support.
"One of the things that we found, that actually surprised us in the study, was that 74-percent of the people in the study … wanted asymmetrical support in the lower back, meaning they wanted more support on either their left or their right side," Dr. Bellingar said.
Adjusting a chair for a perfect fit is a key factor in successful seating -- helping the chair to become a popular office need. Science helps makes a seat that no one wants to give up.
WHAT ERGONOMISTS DO: Ergonomists conduct research on human bodies and their interactions with tools, structures or furniture, to design the job to fit the worker, rather than the other way around. In the modern office, it most commonly relates to the physical stresses placed on joints, muscles, nerves, tendons, bones, even hearing and eyesight, along with other environmental factors that can adversely affect comfort and health.
The science of ergonomics deals with the interaction of technology and work environments with the human body, and involves anatomy, physiology and psychology in the design of chairs, desks, computer accessories, the design of car controls and instruments -- in short, any kind of product that could help relieve potential repetitive strain from a given job or task.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the video portion of this report.
Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.